Dr. Violette taught from 1970 until his retirement in 2005 as associate professor emeritus of history. He received degrees from Bowdoin College (B.A., 1963) and Ohio State University (M.A., 1964; Ph.D., 1971). He was known on campus by his colleagues and friends as "Ralph." His areas of research included Russia, eastern Europe, modern Europe and local history. His publications include various articles, a pictorial history of Fort Wayne, Indiana and his dissertation on Russian naval history.